Skip to main content

Emergency Preparedness at Home

Read some basic steps to follow to ease anxiety and increase preparedness.

Emergency Preparedness at Home

Here are some basic steps you can follow to ease anxiety and increase preparedness.

Discuss these ideas with your family. Then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it -- on the refrigerator or bulletin board.

Emergency Checklist for Home

  • Learn how you would be warned of an emergency at home or at your children's school/day care.
  • Create an emergency plan (see below).
  • Make an evacuation plan and practice it with your family.
  • Learn your community's evacuation routes.
  • Ask about emergency procedures and plans for your children's school/day care.
  • Keep family records in a waterproof and fireproof container.

    Create an Emergency Plan

  • Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of natural disasters such as fire, severe weather, and earthquakes. Use your discretion in discussing dangers of bomb threats, bio-chemical threats, etc.
  • Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
  • Teach children how and when to call 911, police, and fire.
  • Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  • Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
  • Teach children how to make long-distance telephone calls.
  • Pick two meeting places:
    1. A place near your home in case of an emergency
    2. A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster

    Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit

    Assemble supplies you might need in an evacuation. For smaller items, store them in an easy-to-carry container, such as a backpack or duffle bag.


    • A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
    • A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
    • A change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.
    • A first-aid kit and prescription medications.
    • A battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
    • A list of family physicians.

    Additional items may include:

    • Blankets or sleeping bags
    • An extra pair of glasses
    • Credit cards and cash
    • An extra set of car keys
    • A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices, such as pacemakers
    • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members

    Prepare an Emergency Car Kit


    • Battery powered radio and extra batteries
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Blanket
    • Booster cables
    • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
    • First-aid kit and manual
    • Bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.
    • Maps
    • Shovel
    • Tire repair kit and pump
    • Flares

    Adapted from information found on

  • Subscribe to Family Education

    Your partner in parenting from baby name inspiration to college planning.